Foreign interference: Canadians live in fear of China

Foreign interference: Canadians live in fear of China


Many Canadians from China live in fear of reprisals from the regime in Beijing, which believes that all of its citizens owe loyalty to their mother country. To protect them, Canada must strengthen its fight against foreign interference more than ever, argues a veteran journalist and author on the Chinese issue.

While in Montreal, the journalist at < em>Toronto Starand author of China and the New World Disorder, Joanna Chiu, spoke to The Journal about China's growing influence on Canada. 

< p>Members of the Chinese diaspora say they have been trying in vain for years to alert the Canadian authorities to Beijing's excesses. What exactly are they denouncing? 

China conducts a wide range of activities in Canada. What we learn from recent media reports like the Globe and Mail and Globalon leaked intelligence reports from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)  (on Beijing's potential interference in the election) is not surprising. Several Canadians have already denounced the same things to the government directly or to CSIS. CSIS has confirmed to me that their information comes largely from the Chinese community. (…) People talk to each other and they observe, like in a small town. They notice when someone in particular shows up at a political nomination or event. Or when a busload of counter-protesters arrive at a human rights protest in China.  (…)

Interference foreign: Canadians live in fear of China

Jennifer Osborne
Rights Ahead

The Chinese United Front Department has fairly obvious ties to the consulates. (…) Several people tried to alert the authorities and were told that there was nothing illegal. But members of the Chinese diaspora who still have family in China are being intimidated and threatened here in Canada. And in a minority of cases, some are concerned that people in Canada might be forced to become spies or agents of the Chinese government. He has the powers to threaten to arrest the remaining family in China. 

The issue of proxies, allegedly hired by the Chinese state to intimidate nationals in Canada, has made the headlines a lot in recent weeks. How do they operate?

You don't have to be a famous person to be a target of China. Many “ordinary” people are affected… Many Canadians are unaware that there are many people here who are important enough in the eyes of the Chinese state to deploy a lot of resources to silence them. (…)

According to my research, people have actually received visits to their homes. In Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Mayor Brad West reported how residents of his municipality who had spoken out on the Hong Kong situation were visited by Chinese government officials asking them to be quiet at this subject. Others have received phone calls to their homes (…) There is intimidation of Canadians by Chinese government proxies happening here at home. 

There are currently alleged Chinese “police stations” all over the world, including two in Montreal according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. How do they work?

No matter where Chinese nationals live, even if they were born in Canada, they are considered by the Communist Party to have Chinese blood and therefore belong to the motherland. This is the vision of the government that would send agents abroad as extraterritorial police. (…) Governments around the world must be concerned about these situations (…) The problem is that foreign interference is complex. CSIS does not have the authority to arrest people, only the police can do that when a law is broken. However, there is no law in Canada dealing with foreign interference.  So even if everything reported about the alleged Chinese “police stations” is true, how can Canada act?

Is China's influence showing up- it in other spheres of Canadian society?

China's influence is also economic. She tries to reach Canadian companies, law firms, business people from all walks of life, and not just Chinese, by offering interesting business opportunities or paying for VIP trips to China. (…) Even the mayor of a small Canadian city can interest China in terms of possible influence. This complicates the question of interference…Canada is only just beginning to understand the extent of this influence. 

As tensions mount increasingly between the two countries, how does the Chinese government view Canada?

Just look at the exchange between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G20 summit in Bali in November. In front of reporters, Xi Jinping treated Mr. Trudeau with pride when he tried to share his concerns about Chinese interference in Canadian politics. It showed how little respect China has for Canada. This is likely due in part to Huawei's record where China (…) was offended that Canada, though a country less powerful than the United States, refused to work with it. 

< p>Should the government adopt new strategies to counter foreign interference?

I believe we are at a turning point. There is a lot of pressure on the government to act (on foreign interference). (…) If he takes new legislative measures, he will have to think beyond China. If we look at what countries like the United States and Australia are working on, their strategies apply to all countries. CSIS says China may be the most active power right now, but other countries like Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia can also interfere (in Canadian politics). In 10 years, the biggest player may be Russia or India.

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